Chen Chiao-ming (陳巧明), head of a religious group, was sentenced yesterday to 13 years in prison for the death of a teen who was tortured by group members last year.
The Changhua County District Court also sentenced other defendants to terms between six months and more than four years.
Chen led the Sun Moon Bright Light Group (日月明功). While extracting payments from followers, she ruled them with strict discipline, and demanded absolute obedience, court documents said. Those who disobeyed would be slapped in the face, forced to work or beaten.
The judge’s statement said Chen was guilty of intentionally injuring another person and causing death, and offenses against personal liberty. It also said that Chen had tried to hide evidence by threatening her followers.
Chen’s group and their activities came to light when 18-year-old high-school student Chan Chun-yu (詹淳寓) was rushed to an emergency ward at a hospital in Greater Taichung in June last year. Doctors found him severely malnourished, and he died shortly afterward.
It was discovered that Chan was kept locked up in the group’s compound in Changhua County’s Hemei Township (和美), court records showed, adding that he was also beaten with bamboo sticks and a rubber hose.
Chan’s mother, Huang Fen-chueh (黃芬雀), was a member of the group. She thought Chan was taking recreational drugs and had him locked up at the compound, records showed. When Hsu Ai-chen (許愛珍) and other members beat the teenager under instructions from Chen, Huang stood to the side and watched, records showed.
Huang was sentenced to four years and six months, while Hsu received a four-year term for contributing to Chan’s death.
The ruling can be appealed.
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